Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Great Texas Balloon Race :: Up, Up and Away!!!

Every year, balloonists from all over the world gather together in Longview, also known as The Balloon Race Capital of Texas, to compete in national and international races. While the National race kicked off yesterday, balloon flights will take place over Longview, Kilgore and the East Texas Regional Airport through Sunday, August 3rd.

In addition to daily flights, balloons appear throughout the area at local special events. Tonight, the boys, Jake and I will head to Driller Park in Kilgore to watch the Pump Jacks play baseball, enjoy root beer, and get an up close look during a special balloon glow event.

On Friday, August 1st, the specialty balloons will be inflated in the early morning hours for children and adults to enjoy. A list of where each balloon will be located is provided here. This is always a treat for my boys as we usually get to help set up a specialty balloon and meet the crew!

The weekend festivities are fantastic for families. You can purchase advanced tickets for entry into the festival grounds (which I highly recommend).  In the evening, depending upon the wind and weather, pilots perform an incredible balloon glow for all the spectators. There is a special "kid zone," food vendors, music and more. This year's musical performances include Roger Creagar and Tracy Lawrence.

I sincerely hope you get to enjoy these wonderful balloons sometime this week!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Texas Barbecue :: A Summertime Favorite!

Summer in Texas is synonymous with Bar-B-Que. From grilling in the backyard to enjoying this mouth-watering culinary delight in restaurants, most Texans (and many Americans!) spend countless hours dining on grilled meats and veggies throughout the season. In the past, Jake and I have even made special trips around the state just for some fabulous southern BBQ!

One of our favorite places is located in the quaint town of Taylor, Texas. Home of the best black-peppered brisket I've ever had the honor to dine upon, Louie Mueller Barbeque is absolutely stellar, and  not to mention historical.Their hours of operation can sometimes differ, so be sure to call or check their website for updates before heading that way. I promise you want this barbeque on your bucket list!

If you really want to get serious about BBQ, Texas Monthly wrote an article several years back about the best B-B-Q establishments in Texas and someone added the list to a Google map. (This is kind of like cheating!) So, scour the state and pick a few in your vicinity to visit!

If you hadn't already noticed, I spelled BBQ several different ways over the course of three short paragraphs. And, just as frequently as the spelling changes so does the flavor, cut and style of barbeque change across the state. The info-graphic below sheds a little light on the variety of Texas Barbecue. 

So, Bar-B-Q connoisseurs, where do you go for the tastiest BBQ this side of the Red River? I'd love to try out some of these long-favored establishments in the near future! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekly Goals, Balloons, Bags and Roses!

Weekly Goals for 7/28/2014 - 8/3/2014

Summer Fun
  • Chase hot air balloons with my boys!
  • Have a birthday party for the youngest : ) 
  • Take a swim
  • Enjoy ArtsView's summer camp Cinderella!
  • An evening out with Jake
Around the House
  • Dust....achoo!
  • Wash windows
  • Fertilize and prune the roses
  • Organize the garden cabinet
  • Strawberry Lemonade
  • Fresh Blueberry Muffins
  • Homeschool book sale
  • Grand Opening for my favorite toy store
  • Buckner International's Shoes for Orphan Soles drive
  • Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
Just Me
  • Create an inventory/expense spreadsheet for my Thirty-One consulting
  • Work on blog articles
  • Hit the gym    

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer and enjoying lots of the great outdoors with the mildness of the season this year. While we are in our third week of school (Yes, we started back early this year!), we are still enjoying our time outside. 

This week in Longview, balloonists come from all over the United States to compete in the Great Texas Balloon Race. This is what I call the magical time of the year, and indeed, it is! In fact, we are very fortunate because through the course of the week many balloons will fly over our home and we can enjoy them from our backyard. If you live in the East Texas area and have never experienced balloons first hand, you don't want to miss this great opportunity. Last year, my eldest, got to help inflate the Little Old Lady in the Shoe balloon. He is the one in the white shirt holding the balloon open!


Specialty balloons will launch the morning of August 1st all around Longview and Kilgore! Visit the Great Texas Balloon Race website for more information!

I also recently began selling Thirty-One bags again because I truly love their products and needed some new ones! While the Summer styles are winding down, I'll share the newest Fall fashions with you in the near future! Until then, visit my page for more information, to book a party, to place an order, or just to see the catalog online!

Tomorrow, I'm pruning and fertilizing my rose beds. This summer, while great for humans, hasn't been the best for roses! I've had more fungus on them than in previous years and I'm having to treat every six weeks. If you are experiencing black spots too, pick up some fungicide and treat aggressively. I use Bayer Advanced all-in-one Rose and Flower Care. It seems to control the spotting fairly well. Now, if I can just find something to treat the spiders!

I hope you all have a great week and get many of your goals accomplished while still having fun and making time for yourselves!